Nathan Cleverly faces Vyacheslav Uzelkov on October 27 in Cardiff, Wales, making the third defense of his WBO light heavyweight title, live on BoxNation. In this BN interview, he discusses that fight, as well as some disappointment over not landing fights with Bernard Hopkins or Beibut Shumenov.
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"We're six weeks away from fight time. How's it going?"
"Six weeks away, things going great. Preparation's going well, sparring well, been ticking over now for a long time waiting for this fight date, and now here we are, six weeks out. Looking forward to it."
"Do you still find it easy to get up for the fights? To get motivated?"
"Yeah, especially after the last fight, I've had a long break. So I'm refreshed now, mentally and physically. And once you've had a break, you're enthusiastic to get back into training then, and get back in the ring, and do what you do best, and fight."
"And back in Cardiff, in front of your own people."
"Yeah, it's great. That's a bonus, back in front of my home crowd. Great turnout last time from the crowd. Great support, great atmosphere. It'll be great to return there."
"Are you disappointed in any sense that the big names that they're talking about -- I mean there was a lot of talk about Hopkins, wasn't there? Were you disappointed that that didn't come off?"
"Yeah, I was disappointed. I remember the phone call with Frank, my promoter, telling me the fight had been agreed with Bernard Hopkins. The purse had been agreed, the date set, and I was prepared to go to America, and ready for that fight. Unfortunately it fell through. Richard Schaefer contacted Frank and told him that Hopkins had passed on the fight. So we moved on to Shumenov for the unification fight, prepared to go to Vegas to fight him. Unfortunately he couldn't get a TV date. We offered him good money to come over here, and he turned that down. It's disappointing that I didn't get the big fight that I craved. But we'll get there, and I'm sure after this next defense, we'll tick off one of those big names."
"And the thing is, Nathan, although you've been around a while now, in terms of years, you're still a young guy. There's still time to get there, isn't there?"
"There's plenty of time. I'm only 25 years of age. I've achieved a lot at such a young age, but it's important now that I choose the right -- pick the right fights. I've got this defense now, who's a tough fighter, Uzelkov. He's a tough guy. He'll come to fight. I think it's going to be an exciting fight, because I'm not one to take a back foot. So I think it's the kind of fight needed now, an exciting fight like that, just before one of the big guys really set up that big fight next year, 2013."
"And will you be wanting to particularly put on something spectacular, or do you just have to play on its merits come the fight?"
"I think this fight, I'm looking to put on a really -- a good display in this fight. A good display of boxing. And hopefully, a good finish to the fight. Hopefully take this guy out."